Customer Review

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for readers going from intermediate to advanced css!, February 17, 2007
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This review is from: Pro CSS Techniques (Expert's Voice) (Paperback)
The most confusing thing about learning a new subject, or figuring out what you need to advance, is figuring out exactly the right tools for the job...

This review couldn't be complete without making the assertion that I look at this book as a sequel to another book that I have reviewed. In general, Pro Css Techniques picks up where another apress title left off. With that in mind, please read on...

First, if you know just a little css, such as changing font colors, this book is not for you. If you are serious about learning CSS, I recommend that you buy "Beginning CSS Web Development: From Novice to Professional (Paperback)" to get you on the fast track to learning css ... THEN read Pro CS Techniques. Actually, the books are from the same publisher and should have been combined into a single book.

Second, the Pro CSS Techniques book picks up where the fore mentioned "Beginng CSS Web Development" book left off, with a very easy transition for the reader. This book assumes that you know the basics and want to move into the intermediate to advanced phase of learning and applying CSS techniques...and lastly, is not a reference manual.

However, once you complete this book and apply what you know along the way, you will be at the point that all that is needed is a good CSS reference manual (or online documentation) to explore the vast functionality that CSS offers / the point where you start coming up with clever ideas and can "walk the walk and talk the talk aka start stepping into the dark side of the force."

Again, I can't stress enough that if you are new to CSS get the "Beginning CSS Web Development" book first, then go through this one - they flow together very well and work better than getting a "generic" beginning css book, then moving to CSS Mastery.

PROS :

1) If you read the "Beginning CSS Web Development" book, then read this one, you will know CSS in depth. The point being, this is a very effective to learning CSS from beginning to Pro.

2) The book is very clear, well written and provides detailed examples.

3) When the author discusses a topic, included is a code snippet, discussion, code snippet and a final discuss with all the code put together. I don't like those other books that write a snippet or two then tell you to go download the other 500 lines of code that explains nothing.

4) This book gives the reader a very good understanding of dealing with layout issues -- rather than giving you a reference chapter on hacks, the reader will actually understand (throughout the book) the common CSS problems that arise with various browsers and will be prepared to deal with them with understanding, rather than copying and pasting "J. Walsh IE Hack-57x" to "just make things work."

5) I await the next title from the publisher regarding CSS design patterns. If the upcoming book flows into design patterns as well as the Beginning book flowed into this one, it is going to be smooth sailing.

6) Once you buy the book, you can buy the full electronic (searchable) version online for $10 until mid Mar 07 (I believe).

7) As an avid DW Template user, I found the section on selectively hiding CSS to be an eye opener. I love DW templates, but, this seems to be a viable alternative and can save my company at least $1K+ a year in DW upgrades (and DW is getting as bloated as Photoshop now).

8) I built a live site while learning CSS using the Beginning and the Pro CSS Techniques book. Yes, it took about 2 weeks vs doing the site with HTML in about 6 days -- but, when I hit my second site, and had finished up this book, I did another live site and it took me about 3 days, was far easier, is far easier to manage, is WAI / 508 compliant, and tops the search engines --

9)Many reviewers like the "CSS Mastery" Book. Pro CSS Techniques covers the same issues, but, for one it doesn't nag the reader EVERY other paragraph about problems with IE.

10) If your a MAC or PC developer, using Firefox, you will find that once you learn CSS the "right way" it will only take a very small amount of time to address a few IE issues. The point is understanding what causes the problems, as taught in the book, rather than "copy paste" some hack code just to make it work, will shave a lot of time off IE debugging sessions -- and did I mention fewer stomach ulcers from all the aspirin?

CONS :

1) This book should have been the second half of the "Beginning" book (I mentioned several times), even though the authors are different, the two work in perfect harmony.

2) The book would have been much better illustrated in color. I'm a programmer, and can live without color with programming books, but when it comes to graphical design issues, well color does help.

3) Like the CSS Mastery book, it covers the two column, three column basic layout -- some more complex examples would be helpful (this is something I see lacking in other CSS books as well).

CONCLUSION :

This book is excellent if you have the basics down pat, such as id's classes, and general layout concepts under your belt and you want to start going from intermediate to a pro level (by the time you are done). CSS is a pain even at the pro level, but, in the long run this book pays for itself over and over.

I've been a programmer for 20 years, I'm a professional photographer & digital artist and the last 10 years owner of a web development firm. If you want to go from intermediate to pro in a straight forward manner, this book is a must have and worth every penny -- if you just starting CSS, get the Beginning book and this one together -- don't muddle around buying a half dozen books, wasting time and money.

LAST NOTE

Even though with the few cons, actually just personal peeves, taking into the fact that you can find an intermediate to pro learning book that supplements a beginning book makes going HTML to CSS pro a far more pleasurable experience.
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